City Council members submit paperwork to ban horse-drawn carriages in downtown San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO – Members of City Council are pushing to ban horse-drawn carriages in downtown San Antonio, citing “inhumane” treatment of the animals and a negative environmental impact due to increased traffic congestion.

Councilmembers Jalen McKeen Rodriguez of District 2 and Phyllis Viagran of District 3 submitted the paperwork on Wednesday morning that calls for the end of horse-drawn carriages by Dec. 31, 2023, according to records.

Adriana Rocha Garcia of District 4, Ana Sandoval of District 7 and Manny Pelaez of District 8 supported the Council Consideration Request. The downtown area lies within District 1.

The CCR calls for the phasing out of horse-drawn carriages and would prohibit the use of horses with carriage rides.

The city would establish a program to support workers in the transition to electric carriages and pedicabs, the paperwork states.

The plan would also cease the issuance of new horse-drawn carriage permits, medallions and special event permits, and allow existing permits to expire.

“For years, residents have called out the use of horses in horse drawn carriages as an inhumane, cruel means of travel in San Antonio,” the proposal states, adding that traffic noise, pollution, extreme weather, labor and standing on hard surfaces are “detrimental” to their health.

“These factors, in addition to environment impacts of idling cars and slowed traffic justify a transition away from the use of horse drawn carriages,” the CCR states.

WATCH: Carriage operators weigh in after proposed ban on horse-drawn carriages

The scenic strolls on horse-drawn carriages throughout downtown San Antonio could come to an end after members of the city council submitted paperwork to ban them, citing inhumane treatment and increased traffic congestion. KSAT’s John Paul Barajas speaks with carriage operators to hear what they had to say about the proposed ban.

McKee-Rodriguez and Viagran want to include the proposal on the agenda at the earliest governance committee meeting possible.

The CCR was submitted just weeks after the Transportation Advisory Board approved hour changes for carriage operators, according to the San Antonio Report. The board reversed the rule that stated operators can’t use horse-drawn carriages from noon-8:30 p.m. on days with an Air Quality Health Alert.

The hour changes would have to be approved by City Council.

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